TACLOBAN CITY — The treacherous attack committed by the New People’s Army (NPA) that killed two and wounded several others on Friday has sparked outrage among officials in Eastern Visayas.
In a statement issued Friday night, Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone said the local government was “appalled at the heinous acts of terror.”
“We strongly condemn this violent attack that claimed the lives of two individuals – a policeman and (a) civilian – and left several others, including three children and policemen, wounded amidst the Christmas season,” Evardone said.
The incident, he said, has strengthened their “resolve to bolster counter-terrorism efforts and achieve real and lasting peace in the province.”
Eastern Samar Lone District Rep. Fe Abunda described the incident as “a merciless act”, considering that most of the victims were innocent civilians.
“This is sad as this happened during (the) Christmas season, a time where people should be on (a) joyful state. We hope that all will be enlightened and love will rule each and everyone and to avoid armed conflict that affects fellow Filipinos,” Abunda said.
Meanwhile, the League of Parents of the Philippines (LPP) joined the call of officials in condemning the recent attack by the CPP-NPA.
“Ito ang mga scenario na ayaw nating mga magulang … Kabataan na galing sa Christmas party nadamay sa pag-ambush ng mga NPA (This is the scenario hated by parents… NPA harmed minors on their way home from a Christmas party)”, the group said in a statement.
In its aim to protect the minors from the violence being sowed by the rebels, LPP encouraged parents from the National Capital Region and neighboring provinces to assemble on December 23 at 10 a.m. in front of the Dutch Embassy, Makati City.
“Do not hide Joma [Jose Maria] Sison. They oppress our youth way too much. Let us show them our force as parents,” the group added in its statement in Filipino.
A junior police officer and an old woman were killed while four policemen and 12 civilians, including three minors, were injured when suspected rebels detonated an improvised explosive device along a section of the primary highway in Libuton village, Borongan City, Eastern Samar at about 3 p.m. on Friday.
The policemen, who were from the 1st Eastern Samar Provincial Mobile Force Company based in Dolores town, were on board a patrol car heading to Borongan City while the civilians were riding a van and two tricycles.
Killed were Patrolman Mark Jerome Rama and Agripena Traboco, 69, a resident of San Julian town. Injured were patrolmen Angelito Loterte, Rick Capoquian Jr., Rey Sobrepenia, and Kevin Operario.
The wounded civilians were identified as Jacob Chicano, 35; Marrian Esposa, 20; Carlito Esposa, 65; Mark Balayanto Cantos,18; Florence Traboco, 39; Mary Grace Rapada, 39; Ma. Lilisania Obina, 34; and Hector Lemer Obina, 35.
Three minors aged one, six, and 13 years were also hurt in the blast.
Philippine National Police (PNP) 8 (Eastern Visayas) Director Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Divina said the incident proved that the NPA spares no one in their bid to attack government forces.
Divina asked the public to immediately report sightings of communist terrorist members behind the explosion.
“This attack is so unfortunate considering that Christmas is fast approaching and more so that we have casualties among our troops and civilians alike. The whole PNP is condemning such atrocious act,” Divina said.
In a statement issued Friday night, the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City, Samar also condemned the recent attack. “The incident is proof that members of the communist terrorist group do not value the lives of innocent civilians,” it said.
The attack came a month after an explosion in an upland village of Borongan City that killed six soldiers and wounded 20 others from the government troops.
The military has repeatedly condemned the NPA for using explosives in their attacks, showing disrespect for basic human rights. The terrorist attack also disregards the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. PNA – northboundasia.com